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Slovak, Czech PMs want EU decisions based on consensus

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Bratislava, Jan 5 (CTK) – Slovak PM Robert Fico and his Czech counterpart Andrej Babis share the position rejecting the EU migrant relocation quotas and both want the EU to make crucial decisions based on a consensus of member countries’ PMs or presidents, they told reporters after their meeting on Friday.

“A solution to the migrant crisis and immigration lies elsewhere than in quotas. The Visegrad Group (V4) stands by this view. We expect winning further allies such as Austria and other countries. I think we have a good chance of persuading Europe,” Babis (ANO) said, referring to the V4 consisting of Prague, Bratislava, Budapest and Warsaw.

Babis also opposed the multi-speed Europe plan, or closer cooperation between selected EU members.

“There is no dual-speed Europe. All EU members should have equal rights,” he said.

Fico (Smer-Social Democracy) voiced support for the Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary in connection with the legal actions the EC filed against them earlier this week over their shunning of the migrant quotas system.

“As far as the migrant issue is concerned, the positions of the governments of the Czech Republic and Slovakia are practically identical…We want and will express solidarity with the Czech Republic, but also Poland and Hungary, in the case of the lawsuits filed against them, since it is utter nonsense…,” Fico said.

“The quotas do not work, are ineffective, divide the EU and we have suffered a huge political blow in consequence of the decision [on the quotas] was accepted only by a majority at the Council of [interior] Ministers [in 2015],” Fico said.

Asked by a journalist about whether Prague is going to adopt the euro, Babis said he does not feel the need to do so for the time being.

“At the moment, we are satisfied with the Czech crown. We are watching the euro zone’s operation but there is no need for us to join it immediately. For now, I can see more cons than pros,” Babis said, adding that the Eurozone needs a reform, like the EU.

Unlike the other V4 countries, Slovakia introduced the euro as of 2009.

Fico said he will be pushing for the countries outside the euro zone to be invited to take part in the debate on euro zone reforms.

Babis’s minority government was appointed on December 13, about two months after his ANO’s smooth general election victory. His current visit to Slovakia is his second foreign trip in his capacity as PM, after his attendance of the December EU summit in Brussels.

At the press conference in Bratislava on Friday, Babis appreciated special relations between the two countries, which formed a joint state in 1918-1992.

“Our relations are a priority. Mainly this year when we mark 100 years from the birth of Czechoslovakia and 25 years from its split, which can be an an example for all [countries] in the world to follow,” Babis said.

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